Oregon Lawmakers Debate E-Cigarette Taxes
SALEM, Ore. (AP) -- The Oregon Legislature is beginning to look at whether to tax electronic cigarettes.
The state Department of Revenue told House and Senate committees yesterday that there are currently no taxes on electronic cigarettes, battery powered devices that contain nicotine but not tobacco. E-cigarettes are growing in popularity, and some tout them as alternatives to traditional cigarettes.
Democratic Rep. Phil Barnhart of Eugene, chairman of the House Revenue Committee, says the state should look at taxing e-cigarettes because they contain nicotine, an addictive substance.
Others said lawmakers should tread carefully while researchers look into the potential dangers of e-cigarettes. Republican Rep. Cliff Bentz of Ontario says the state shouldn't create a disincentive for using e-cigarettes if they turn out to be a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes.